Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

How Much Does the AC Affect Fuel Mileage

fuel mileage

Your car’s air conditioner is an important accessory – it helps keep you and your passengers comfortable and safe during hot weather. However, it’s operated by your engine and places an additional load on your engine when it’s running. That means it increases your fuel expenditure (decreases your fuel economy). How much does it affect your fuel mileage? The answer is: a lot.

How much will my fuel mileage be affected?

Note that there is no single answer to this question, as there are a number of different factors in play. The actual temperature outside will have an effect, as will the size of your engine, the make and model of your car, the condition of your air conditioning system and many others. However, the US EPA notes that running the air conditioner in very hot weather can increase your fuel consumption by up to 25%, and that the effect of using the AC in a hybrid or electric vehicle can be even greater.

The best defense against decreasing fuel economy is actually pretty simple – use your windows at lower speeds, and turn on the air when you hit the highway. Of course, open windows increase drag, which also reduces fuel economy, but the impact isn’t as great as running the AC at lower speeds.

Ensuring that your air conditioning system and engine are properly maintained will also help improve your fuel economy. Regular oil changes and clean air filters can do a great deal to improve your fuel mileage. Ensuring that your AC system has the right level of refrigerant is also an important consideration here.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
Icon-warranty_badge-02

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

Post a question and get free advice from our certified mechanics.

ASK A QUESTION

More related articles

P2159 OBD-II Trouble Code: Vehicle Speed Sensor B Range/Performance
Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC): P2159 P2159 code definition Vehicle Speed Sensor B Range/Performance Related Trouble Codes: P2158: Vehicle Speed Sensor B P2160: Vehicle Speed Sensor B Circuit Low P2161:...
What are the Car Pool Rules in Hawaii?
Hawaii is widely regarded as a land of vacation and relaxation, and as such, its scenic roads and routes are far better known than the state’s freeways. But, as with all...
Auto Safety Tips
Driving is more than a way to get from point A to point B. Owning and driving a car can also be a highly enjoyable experience. Whether a person is driving...


Related questions

Q: AC air switching when I accelerate.

The ford trucks use vacuum switches for the defroster. It sounds like you may have a bad vacuum line or a bad vacuum reservoir behind the dash that. I would have a technician, such as one from YourMechanic, come out...

Q: Bad gas mileage

Hi there. The fuel mileage is never great in this car, but this is rather low. Most of the time if it is running fine and has recently dropped off it is because or a dirty air filter or a...

Q: Ac

Hi. Yes, the compressor can run when commanded on by the "AC amplifier"; Toyota term. However, I believe you may have a failed air mix servo. The air mix servo adjusts the outlet air temperature for the vents by directing...